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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

SFPD Thinks Cop in Recent Killing Will Be Key Department Reformer

Posted By on Wed, Jul 13, 2016 at 12:36 PM

click image After the fatal shooting of Luis Gongora, Sgt. Nate Steger has been tasked with figuring out how to stop cops from killing civilians. - VIA JUSTICE FOR LUIS GÓNGORA PAT/YOUTUBE
  • via Justice for Luis Góngora Pat/Youtube
  • After the fatal shooting of Luis Gongora, Sgt. Nate Steger has been tasked with figuring out how to stop cops from killing civilians.
The San Francisco Police Department is currently in what you might call a predicament.

The bad PR has been piling up for months now, as have the bodies of citizens killed by officers. An ad hoc panel’s review just dropped, revealing a police force rife with racial profiling problems that’s backed up by a divisive, dangerous, and utterly tone deaf union. The cops’ cop of a chief is gone, and if you really want to lose all faith in the people who are supposed to protect and serve the public, then just go back over the last year-plus of stories about the text messages.

When things are this bad, it’s easy for the media to just shoot fish in a barrel. Which brings us to the latest WTF moment in recent SFPD history: One of the two officers responsible for the shooting death of Luis Gongora in the Mission District on April 7 is working for the new SFPD bureau tasked with figuring out how to stop cops from killing civilians.

Sgt. Nate Steger is one of only four officers working on these reforms for the Professional Standards and Principled Policing Bureau, the Examiner reports. (Toney Chaplin was directing the bureau before his promotion to interim chief.) The bureau is supposed to be integral in crafting new policies that would reduce police shootings, among other responsibilities.

Folks who spoke with the Examiner were pissed.

“It is shocking to hear that given that the Gongora case is still under investigation, that one of the officers involved, and thus may have been involved in misconduct, is working in a department unit heading reforms,” said Supervisor David Campos, who represents the Mission District. “It sends a horrible message to the Gongora family and the community at large. It is further proof that the department doesn’t get it and needs reform.”

“It seems very strange that they would put him in that position,” said Public Defender Jeff Adachi, who appeared before the District Attorney’s Office’s panel reviewing SFPD. “It appears that he’s been put in a position of preventing people from doing exactly what he did. I would wonder what kinds of training he has received.”

“Wow. That’s insane,” said Ilych Sato, aka Equipto, a vocal opponent of SFPD and one of the Frisco 5 who went on a hunger strike after Gongora’s death.

It seems woefully contradictory for Steger to hold any position within this bureau, but that’s just civilian talk. We’re not experts like the Police Officers Association union, which comes up with gems like “[t]he reality for every San Francisco police officer is that you have become a political football for nearly every San Francisco politician, police commissioner, and self-promoting politico in this city” in its riveting monthly journal. Or threatens elected officials who dare disagree or challenge police conduct in this city. The union seems to control SFPD, and that’s not a good thing.

Maybe it’s time to stop doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.
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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

S.F. DA Promises To Come To Assaulted Cyclist's Aid

Posted By on Wed, Jun 29, 2016 at 12:03 PM

Randall Dietel is a local cyclist, bent on enforcing the rules of the road at any cost. And he might just have an ally in the city’s top prosecutor.

On Tuesday, the same day as the vigil ride for the two cyclists killed last week in San Francisco, Dietel was downtown on his bike filming motorists trying to skirt around traffic by using the bike lane on Golden Gate Avenue. A motorcycle appears in the footage, weaving around traffic before coming to a stop in front of Dietel, who says “hi.”

Obviously not a fan of cameras or bicyclists, the motorcyclist swings his arm toward Dietel’s camera, making contact, and then speeds off as the camera falls to the ground. Dietel told KPIX 5 that he was not injured but hoped to figure out the identity of the motorcyclist.

He also took to Twitter with his story.

What he found was a sympathetic District Attorney George Gascón, ready to prosecute the motorcyclist Iif Dietel filed a police report, which he did, and there was enough evidence to go forward.

(It’s also worth noting that Dietel told KPIX that a dispatcher said it would take police more than an hour to respond after he called 911 to report the incident.) 

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Monday, June 27, 2016

VIDEO: ISIS Threatens San Francisco — Sort Of

Posted By on Mon, Jun 27, 2016 at 12:00 PM

That's Arabic for, "Damn, it's windy." - SCREENSHOT
  • Screenshot
  • That's Arabic for, "Damn, it's windy."
San Francisco has the unfortunate honor of appearing in a new propaganda video for the Islamic State released Sunday, no doubt to coincide with the city’s massive Pride celebration, since persecution of LGBT people is a hallmark of deranged fundamentalists.

Several alleged terrorists appear on screen to praise Omar Mateen, the Orlando gay nightclub shooter, and Larossi Abballa, the man who attacked a French police officer and his family June 13, the day after the Orlando shooting.

The trio reportedly encourages more attacks in the U.S. and Europe, and this is when the footage of San Francisco starts to roll (Las Vegas is also threatened, likely for its questionable buffet restaurants). Were we recently visited by some famous fundamentalists?

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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

How Many OC Workers Does It Take To Deliver $100K To SF Homeless Hero?

Posted By on Wed, May 11, 2016 at 3:50 PM

Orange County Supervisor Todd Spitzer delivering $100,000 reward to homeless San Franciscan Matthew Hays-Chapman. - TODD SPITZER'S NEWSLETTER
  • Todd Spitzer's newsletter
  • Orange County Supervisor Todd Spitzer delivering $100,000 reward to homeless San Franciscan Matthew Hays-Chapman.

It was the kind of feel-good story all too often lacking in the daily headlines: In March, homeless resident Matthew Hay-Chapman was promised $100,000 in reward money for helping San Francisco police arrest two of three Orange County escaped jail inmates at the McDonald’s in the Haight-Ashbury.

Thanks to his vigilance, Hay-Chapman would have the chance to start anew, maybe get off the street. Orange County was happy to dole out the award, since the jailbreak was such an embarrassment — no one wants escaped criminals roaming around.

In fact, the county was so keen on giving a check to Hay-Chapman in person in San Francisco that four employees made the journey north to do the honors.

However, as the saying goes, no good deed goes unpunished: Now one Orange County supervisor is calling the trip “extreme overkill.”

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Supervisor Jane Kim: Police Chief Greg Suhr Has Got To Go

Posted By on Wed, May 11, 2016 at 12:41 PM

Police Chief Greg Suhr (left) and Supervisor Jane Kim (right) in slightly happier times. - JANE KIM/TWITTER
  • Jane Kim/Twitter
  • Police Chief Greg Suhr (left) and Supervisor Jane Kim (right) in slightly happier times.

After the "Frisco 5" protesters starved themselves for 17 days in an attempt to get Mayor Ed Lee to replace police Chief Greg Suhr — by whose side the mayor continues to stand, even as like-minded supporters camp inside and outside City Hall and interrupt Lee's appearance at the Board of Supervisors — at least one voice from inside city government is now saying it's time for Suhr to ride off into the sunset. 

In a statement released this morning that cited recent findings from a panel of judges that SFPD has a host of systemic problems, Supervisor  Jane Kim called for the city to begin searching for its next police chief.

“Chief Greg Suhr has served San Francisco for over 30 years and we should thank him for that service," Kim said in the statement. "But even he must acknowledge that leading a culture shift in that department would be easier and faster if there was new leadership there. It is time to launch a search for a new chief who can implement fundamental reform."

Kim, keep in mind, is running for state Senate against her colleague Scott Wiener, who has molded himself as a staunch supporter of the police (and who Lee is endorsing). So it's a bit of a political move — but police chief is a political position. 

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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Deputies in Videotaped Beating of Suspect Charged with Felonies

Posted By on Tue, May 10, 2016 at 12:35 PM


Two Alameda County sheriff's deputies caught on video beating a suspect senseless in a Mission District alley last fall are being charged with multiple felonies by San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon.

The deputies, 14-year veteran Luis Santamaria, and Paul Wieber, who has three years' experience, were pursuing Stanislav Petrov, a repeat offender who had allegedly rammed a deputy's patrol car and led authorities across the Bay Bridge in a high-speed chase before ditching his car in the Mission and fleeing on foot.

Deputies caught up with him in an alley where he appeared to surrender before he was tackled and beaten repeatedly with batons. Unknown to the deputies, who did not activate their body cameras for the beatdown, the entire encounter was captured on surveillance video.

"When police violate the law, it impacts the work of every woman in man in uniform," Gascon said at a press conference at the Hall of Justice. 

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The SFPD is Pretty Well Fucked

Posted By on Tue, May 10, 2016 at 12:11 PM

Police Chief Greg Suhr has a mess of a department, a panel of retired judges found. - MIKE KOOZMIN/SF WEEKLY FILE PHOTO
  • Mike Koozmin/SF Weekly file photo
  • Police Chief Greg Suhr has a mess of a department, a panel of retired judges found.

The day of reckoning is upon San Francisco’s finest.

Or, in other words, the Police Department is fucked.

Cops who engage in racial profiling, old-school "stop and frisk tactics," poor discipline of problem officers, little to no accountability across the board, and a complete disregard for transparency. The SFPD has all of the above, according to the preliminary findings of a blue-ribbon panel of retired judges assembled  by District Attorney George Gascon — who was those problem cops' boss just a few years ago (he was chief from 2009 to 2011).

The Examiner was first to publish the findings, which will be expanded upon in the coming weeks. But the findings go beyond a few problem cops. According to the panel, the SFPD “is, in fact, influenced by the [Police Officers Association, the city's influential and reactionary police union] and the POA’s influence has been an impediment to open dialogue and sustained reforms.”

The POA, as it happens, has been the panel's most-vocal critic. And, coincidentally, police Chief Greg Suhr, who has time and again promised swift justice and reform with the discovery of each batch of racist texts, racial slur, and each fatal officer-involved shooting of a mentally-ill person with a knife, is the POA's guy.

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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

"Frisco 5" March to City Hall to Meet with Mayor Ed Lee (Who is Unavailable)

Posted By on Tue, May 3, 2016 at 3:24 PM

From left: Maria Cristina Gutierrez, Edwin Lindo, and Ilyich "Equipto" Sato. - JESSICA CHRISTIAN/SF EXAMINER
  • Jessica Christian/SF Examiner
  • From left: Maria Cristina Gutierrez, Edwin Lindo, and Ilyich "Equipto" Sato.
Yesterday, Mayor Ed Lee popped into the Mission police station, where five activists have been staging a hunger strike for the past 12 days. The strikers — led by rapper and preschool teacher Equipto, who has been hounding the mayor since October but intesified and directed ire at Suhr following the Dec. 2 shooting death of Mario Woods — want Lee to fire police Chief Greg Suhr, or at the least listen to why they want the city's top cop out.

Lee hung around the station for about half an hour before departing. A photo of Lee and his criminal justice advisors sitting glumly in front of empty chairs, waiting for the agitators who never showed, was made available by the Mayor's Office.

The strikers said they declined the meeting because not all of them were present — and because they said this was all a "power move" from the mayor to pre-empt a planned march on City Hall today, when the strikers planned to demand a meeting with Lee.

That march went ahead and happened. And when the strikers, who were rolled in wheelchairs to City Hall and lifted up some flights of stairs when the wheelchair elevators were out, showed up to Lee's office and asked for a meeting, they were told he was out — at a community meeting in Bayview.

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Turns Out SFPD's Go-To Guy on Gangs is a Bit of Bigot, Too

Posted By on Tue, May 3, 2016 at 1:54 PM

click image Sgt. Leonard Broberg of the SFPD's Gang Task Force Unit. - LENNY BROBERG/FACEBOOK
  • Lenny Broberg/Facebook
  • Sgt. Leonard Broberg of the SFPD's Gang Task Force Unit.

Sgt. Leonard "Len" Broberg is the San Francisco Police Department's go-to man on gangs. It is testimony from Broberg — an out gay man who, in his spare time, is active in the leather community — that is often the difference between a young (black) man from the projects going to jail for a little bit or to prison for a very long time on a gang enhancement.

(For more on how spurious "gang membership" is by law enforcement standards — "415" tattoos, for example, can be declared gang-related — please read this fine piece by current BuzzFeed scribe Albert Samaha and our own rundown of how weak the gang connection was for Mario Woods, the man slain by police in the Bayview on Dec. 2.)

Last year, police broke up a music video shoot for rapper Yung Lott in the Bayview. Cops said some of the people in the video were associated with the "Big Block" gang and arrested two. Following the bust, Broberg was called in — and his "post-game analysis" of the bust in the station house was captured on audio.

In it, you can hear Broberg call Rebecca Young, an attorney in the Public Defender's Office, a "bitch." You can also hear Broberg and other cops refer to the alleged gang members they'd arrested as "fat," "retarded," and you can hear him mocking them for hanging out in a park on a Sunday.

You can also hear how alleged gang members get "load[ed] up" with charges — even if they appear to merely be standing near gang members when cops arrive.

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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Homeless Man Beaten By Sheriff’s Deputy Set to Receive $150K From SF

Posted By on Wed, Apr 13, 2016 at 12:58 PM

click image Sheriff's Deputy Michael Lewelling, beater of homeless man, coster of $150,000. - ABC 7
  • ABC 7
  • Sheriff's Deputy Michael Lewelling, beater of homeless man, coster of $150,000.
A week after San Francisco police shot and killed a homeless man in the Mission District, another homeless man is set to receive a $150,000 settlement from the city for his own violent (but less lethal) encounter with law enforcement. 

On Nov. 3, 2014, Fernando Guanill was beaten up at San Francisco General Hospital by sheriff’s Deputy Michael Lewelling. Lewelling, who was prosecuted by District Attorney George Gascon, received only three years of probation after his conviction on a felony charge of assault under the color of authority — and after initially arresting Guanill on a false charge of assault on the deputy.

Guanill had arrived early at the hospital for an appointment regarding knee replacement surgery and had fallen asleep in a waiting area. Video surveillance footage shows Lewelling, 34, confront Guanill, who was 59 at the time and walked with a cane, before attacking the man.

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